Gaming

Gabe Newell: Valve's Steam machines outperform consoles at same price point

Newell says he wants customers to have more choice; Steam Machines days away from release.

With Valve's long-awaited initiative to bring PC gaming to the living room now just days away, the head of the company has claimed its hardware line-up can offer better performance-value than consoles.

In an interview with Develop, Gabe Newell was quoted as saying: "At console price points, we're going to have machines like Alienware's, which are faster than today's consoles."

He continued: "So the same price point as today, except you get better performance and you're connected to everything you like about the PC and the Internet."

On Valve's Steam Machine store page, thirteen separate hardware units are listed, with Alienware's system priced at $450. The final specs are not explicitly stated, though the most recent Steam Machine specs assessment suggested the device carried an Intel Core i3 Dual-Core processor, an NVIDIA Geforce GTX with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, 4GB of DDR3L system RAM, and a 500GB hard-drive.

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Valve


Required Reading: Steam Machines: First impressions, The Specs, Prices, and Release Dates

Whether that means that Alienware's entry-level system carries a meaningful computational advantage (or disadvantage) over the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is a matter for debate. In the US, the PS4 and Xbox One typically retail at $100 less than Alienware's Steam box.

Elsewhere in the interview, Newell claimed that its Steam Machine enterprise will break down the long-held belief that PC gaming doesn't fit in living-room spaces.

"Our perception is that customers are always going to make the best choices for what they want," he said.

"We can knock down the barriers that keep PC gaming out of the living room, and then customers can decide what they want."

Steam Machines were first rumoured in March 2012, months prior to Valve's official announcement. Each machine varies significantly in price and performance, while all run on SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system (though players can install windows too). A Valve-developed Steam controller has also been built for the devices.

Valve has created a second solution to PC gaming in the living-room, with a Wi-Fi-enabled device called Steam Link that transfers video signals from the PC to a nearby television.

Elsewhere in the Develop interview with Newell, the revered games development executive said that Valve's desire to challenge the status quo has paid off tremendously in the past.

"When we started with Steam, no-one believed you could deliver a better gaming experience over the internet, and we're like, well, we actually think it's probably an opportunity to do something," he said.

Steam Machines are scheduled to go on sale from November 10.